What to wear when you're 65
My mom (God bless her) has a funky streak in her. She wants desperately to be hip (and much younger). And, she is hip! But, she is 65 and sometimes she tends to go a bit far. Like...wanting to shop at Hot Topic for crap with skulls and cross bones on it.
She's not a biker, a pothead, skater, etc. She's actually fairly conservative and usually has good taste. I think it's just wanting to be young. I remember when I was in high school and I wore guess jeans. So did she. (I hated it.)
Anyway, do you have any suggestions on places to shop for a hip 65 year old? She's in great shape and looks younger, but she's still 65. She can't go around wearing clothes made for an 18-year-old. She doesn't like "cruise wear", doesn't want to look like the Vegas crowd. She's got the money to shop at nice stores and does shop at Ann Taylor Loft (although I've heard the Loft is meant for a slightly younger crowd). She doesn't like J.Jill... thinks it's too plain or something.
Have I given you enough background? Can you help? Of course, you can't make her shop any certain place, but I thought if my sisters and I had some good suggestions she might take us up on them. We'd thank you... and so would my poor dad!
I wrote recently about how to avoid looking matronly; today let's talk about how to dress your age when your age is 65. And no, I am not going to suggest cruise wear or anything that smacks of the costume closet from the Golden Girls.
But I am going to tell Susan's mom to stay out of Hot Topic.
First let's start with a basic premise: women who are wearing clothes that are too young for them (Susan's mom, I'm looking at you) are trying NOT to look old. Which is all well and good, because no one wants to look old, but -- BUT! -- dressing like a biker, a pothead, a skater, etc (to borrow Susan's description) will NOT make you look young. It will make you look like an older woman who is trying NOT to look old. Which just means that you LOOK OLD. And also kind of foolish.
I'm sorry, but it's true.
At 65, there are things that Susan's mom should not be wearing. Anything from the junior department, for starters, or anything that she is seeing exclusively on women in their 20s (or younger). This includes micro minis, clothing with skulls, and anything with the word "board" in the name. But she also should steer clear of pants with full elastic waistbands and polyester content of more than -- well, ANYTHING, really. Sweaters with pictures on them, skirts that fall to the ankle, and those lace up shoes from SAS are also a no.
What CAN she wear? Oh so many things! To avoid looking matronly (or OLD, let's just go with that) she wants to look for clothes that fit properly -- mid-rise pants that fall from the widest part of her hip, tops that cover her stomach and flatter her figure, dresses and skirts that fall to just above the knee. Nothing too tight or too revealing (although really I would say that no matter what her age). She should avoid pieces that are too over-the-top trendy, but that doesn't mean ignoring the trends altogether; she just wants to mix them in with pieces that are timeless, rather than building a wardrobe around them.
Chico's Pavia Jacket, $258.00.
Susan's mom wants to choose colors that flatter her skin and hair; she can wear bold color, as long as it doesn't make her look washed out, and as long as she avoids neon (really, that goes for ALL OF YOU, no matter what your age). She wants to keep hemlines, for shorts and skirts and dresses, near the knee (again, that goes for pretty much ALL OF YOU). She wants to choose clothes that flatter her figure without exposing too much skin. Oh, who are we kidding -- that also applies to ALL OF YOU.
Susan has said that her mother has good taste, and the income to shop wherever she wants. She should take advantage of both of these things and invest in some really good quality pieces -- like a suede jacket in a tailored cut, one that can go with jeans AND a structured skirt, or great shoes in beautiful colors. The jacket pictured above would be equally appropriate for running errands or for dinner out, and it is both funky and chic and still grown up and age appropriate.
What Susan's mom really needs to keep in mind is this: dressing like a kid will NOT make you look younger. Dressing in clothes that fit your body and your life -- including the part of your life where you are 65 -- will make you look youthful and beautiful. One of the privileges of age is that we get to stop worrying about fitting in and focus on looking great. Susan's mom should stop worrying about dressing young and start thinking about how to dress well.
Speaking of looking old -- what are bloggers saying about Charla Krupp and Now Not to Look Old?
Lisa V at Vindauga takes issue with Krupp's insistence that only WOMEN have to worry about getting old. I agree.
Lynn Mally at Design your live finds Krupp's book both useful and a little unsettling.
Cindy Swanson at Notes in the Key of Life points out that Krupp is NOT advocating that grown women dress like teenagers. Thank god.